BWW Review: The Cirio Collective Explodes onto the Stage
I was fortunate to see the Cirio Collective on Monday, June 24, 2017, a part of The Joyce Theater's Ballet Festival, July 18 - 29. Drawn to see the company of extraordinary American Ballet Theatre principal dancer, Jeffrey Cirio, the artistic director of his own company, I was not disappointed. Cirio's associate artistic director is his sister, Lia Cirio, principal dancer of the Boston Ballet, also a remarkable dancer.
When the curtain opened on the first piece, Fremd, choreography by J.Cirrio, he appeared in a square of light covering half the stage. His strength and focused energy seemed impenetrable and magnetic. When four other dancers danced together on the dim half of the stage, they seemed insignificant. With the progression of the work, the other seven dancers came into focus, via pas de deux, marvelously danced by L. Cirio and Altan Dugeraa, and group pieces, sometimes with J. Cirio joining them. It was evident that all of the dancers were valuable. Lighting by John Cuff (who did the lighting for all the works on the program) played a role. The music was a variety of changes between contemporary sounds and classical music: Olaf Bender; Gwely Merrians; Frederic Chopin, Nocturne No. 19 in E Minor, in E minor, played by Arthur Rubinstein; Olaf Bender, Fremd; John Field, Nocturne for Piano No. 10 in E minor; H 46b, Adagio, played by John O'Conor. The shifts in music brought shifts in movement, thus shifts in mood.
Second on the program was a World Premiere Video, directed by Sean Meehan of Cross River Pictures. We see ABT soloist Blaine Hoven walking down a dark hallway, leading to an empty garage, also dimly lit. His shapely calves walking towards the camera, the rest of his body covered in newspapers, took my attention. In the garage, he was joined by L. Cirio and another female.
Sonnet of Fidelity, choreography by Paulo Arrais, to music of Plilip Glass, Piano Concerto No. 2 and a poem: Sonneto de Fidelidade by Vinicius de Morais, Performed by Paulo Arrais. L. Cirio wearing a red leotard and Paul Craig danced a passionate pas de deux, beautifully to both words and music.
Each of the seven ballets demonstrated that the whole company is full of focus and professionalism. Not only was each individual an impressive dancer, but as a group they had seamless unison and flow, a pleasure to see. Minim, choreography by J. Cirio, to music by Johannes Brahms, Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38, is a contemporary ballet for eight dancers, three female and five male. The choreography, as performed by these dancers was mesmerizing. In the Mind: The Other Room, World Premiere, choreographed by J. Cirio, called on Whitney Jensen as the woman whose mind we enter when we see what is on her mind or in the other room: Isaac Akiba, L. Cirio, and Paul Craig. Music is Monolake, Arit (VLSI Version), Crash (VLSI Version). Costumes, by Ageless Einzelganger, were black and loose, a first on this program. Tacitility, choreographed by Gregory Dolbashian, to music of Christopher Tyng, is an engaging duo danced by J. Cirio and Hoven, two male dancers with strong personalities. Last on the program was Efil YM Fo Flah, also chroegraphed by J. Cirio, in which all nine dancers performed as a group, often moving as a unit. The unity was flawless. The music was arranged and performed by violinists Josh Knowles and Anan Stromer, on stage with electric violins. The sometimes screeching-sounds of the instruments was the only detriment I found in the whole evening. The dancers and choreography, however, were enough to keep me riveted.
The Joyce's Ballet Festival continues with Gemma Bond, July 25-26 and Amy Seiwert's Imagery, July 27-29.